Basketball: England survive worry on Williams

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The Independent Online
YORICK WILLIAMS, the only Englishman in the Budweiser League's top 20 scorers, will be available to line up for England next week despite some brief uncertainty over his nationality.

When English Basketball Association officials examined his passport to obtain clearance for what would be Williams' England debut, they discovered that both his parents are Jamaican.

After an anxious exchange of faxes and e-mails, the international federation, Fiba, cleared Williams on Thursday afternoon. He is one of only three league players in the squad, 10 play abroad, including a contingent of four with Italian clubs.

The England coach, Laszlo Nemeth, will use all 13 in the warm-up games against Switzerland on Monday and Tuesday, but must omit one for the European Championship game against Denmark on Wednesday and for the trips to Spain and Ukraine next week.

The National Cup holders, Thames Valley Tigers, face Sheffield Sharks in the semi- finals, after knocking out Manchester Giants whose only other defeat this season was against Tigers in the league.

Tigers ended Giants' 14-game unbeaten run with a 100-87 win, while Sheffield beat Derby 87-76. Two free throws from Tim Moore clinched a 100-98 victory for Greater London Leopards over Birmingham Bullets. They now play Newcastle Eagles, who beat Chester Jets 93-72.